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A Message from Live Baltimore's Executive Director

Steve Gondol, Executive Director

City Living Starts Here. It’s a simple tagline. But its brevity is backed by a wealth of resources and information that more than 7,000 individuals utilized this past fiscal year.

As we conclude our 16th year of operation, or as we call it, our Sweet 16, we are pleased to share some of the major accomplishments for our organization—and our city—in this fiscal year annual report.

Foremost in 2013, we celebrated the news that Baltimore’s population grew by 1,100 individuals, an increase to 621,342 residents. Our report details the outreach measures we employed to contribute to this achievement.

We are also excited to introduce a new look: both to our logo and our website. We hope each will inspire curiosity and discovery, highlighting our thriving neighborhoods and vibrant culture, while continuing to help grow Baltimore’s residential population.

Our success would not be possible without the dedication of our volunteers and the generosity of our foundation partners, donors, marketing partners, and the City of Baltimore. Thank you.

–Steven Gondol, Executive Director

A Message from Live Baltimore’s President of the Board

Darlene Brannigan Smith, President of the Board

Moving to a new city is hard and often scary. Even moving to a new place in the same city has its obstacles. And a city with more than 250 neighborhoods, 250 individual communities, and 250 distinct personalities can be tough to navigate, to say the least.

What if you had a helping hand, a guide to walk with you as you discover the right neighborhood for you by exploring Baltimore’s many local treasures? Someone who knew the benefits of city living and had done all the research on each and every incentive that is available citywide—and how you can receive and use them. Imagine all this knowledge with the approachability of a good neighbor. That’s what Live Baltimore is to me.

The way we measure our programs, define our successes, and determine our path forward are sure to interest you. But beyond the facts and figures that you will find included here, I want you to know what it’s like to experience Live Baltimore’s work from another point of view, a perspective that we should all be so lucky to see. This spring, my daughter became a first time homebuyer and moved into Baltimore City (I’m thrilled to have her so close by, but that’s another story). Her first steps were hard, full of confusion and frustration. Naturally, I pointed her in Live Baltimore’s direction. From there, her experience improved in leaps and bounds- she even learned that she was eligible for $21,000 in homebuying incentives, including $5,000 through the Live Near Your Work program. The incredible education, the comprehensive resources, and the personal attention she received were unparalleled. The thoroughness of the information she learned eased the homebuying process greatly and has enabled her to become an ambassador for the city. I’m very proud of her.

What I really want you to know though is that my daughter is not unique. Each individual, each family that comes to Live Baltimore is met with the same openness, the same level of information, the same personal touch. And because they come to Live Baltimore, they learn about the $5,000 - $38,000 of incentives that can be received and used towards the purchase of a new home. This is what Live Baltimore does. Our commitment to growing Baltimore City is accomplished one person at a time. And it’s working. Baltimore City is blossoming. Our generous donors, our energetic partners, our tireless and passionate volunteers never stop championing this city and are vital to increasing the city’s population. Together, we will flourish.

–Darlene Brannigan Smith, Ph.D., Board President

"Baltimore City is a fast-growing, diverse and vibrant urban hub that is the location of choice for residential living."

Live Baltimore's Vision

ing City Life for 16 Years

Neighborhood tour sign

Since 1997, Live Baltimore has worked to promote residential living in the City of Baltimore—fighting the population loss that has plagued many cities since the end of World War II. Live Baltimore’s mission is to accelerate Baltimore’s growth by promoting the city as a great place to live and by accentuating its thriving neighborhoods.

Many city residents know Live Baltimore best for our “I City Life” initiative. Bumper stickers, window decals, and license plates containing this popular slogan can be found throughout Baltimore. A battle cry for those invested in the city, “I City Life” calls on residents to show their pride of place. And as such, the campaign has continued to gain popularity since its inception in 1998 (by pioneers, Carolyn and Kevin O’Keefe).

As passionate advocates for the city, Live Baltimore envisions a stable population of residents who care for their homes, neighbors, and communities. Our focus on growth comes from the knowledge that cities with stable and sustainable populations provide safer neighborhoods, stronger communities, and more opportunities for everyone.

We are grateful for the ongoing support of our donors, volunteers, partners, collaborators, and friends—without whom our work would be impossible. From volunteering at our events, to driving around town with a Live Baltimore license plate, to referring new residents to us for assistance, we appreciate all that you do.


Our Approach in 2013

Remington Talk

Meeting Baltimore’s opportunities for growth requires a multi-faceted plan of action. In 2013, we continued many of our successful programs while also turning our focus to the future. This meant upgrading the look of our brand and investing in many of our client-facing resources.

We spread the word.
As our logo and tagline were being revamped, we worked to increase awareness of our programs. The advertising campaign, “Becoming a Local,” was placed in a variety of media to highlight specific features and benefits of our services.
We redesigned
More prospective residents connect with Live Baltimore through our website than by any other means. With this in mind, we rebuilt our online presence to include Salesforce, a Customer Management System. New site features and enhanced reporting tools will ensure greater measurability of our visitor interactions, while also providing an enhanced user experience, for years to come.
We welcomed residents.
We continued to work with individuals, real estate agents, and local businesses to distribute City Living Kits. We refreshed our signature welcoming tool’s packaging, along with our brand refresh, ensuring our first impression is a lasting impression.
We held signature events.
We continued to host workshops, homebuying incentive events, and neighborhood tours — both in partnership with the City of Baltimore and independently.
We got the community involved.
We renamed our volunteer program, turning community ambassadors into “Neighborhood-Know-It-Alls.” We built interactive Know-It-All features into our new website, making assisting us at events and with customer inquiries more engaging than ever before.

There’s no one way to attract prospective residents and sustain the growth of our population.

"We got to see some of the beauty in neighborhoods we have never taken the time to look at, even though we have lived in Baltimore for more than 10 years. We feel prepared to buy our first house in Baltimore."

Lesley, June 2013 Buying Into Baltimore Attendee

2013 Events

Neighborhood Pop-Up

Incentives, education, and community continued to be the focus of our events in 2013. We worked with experts—from lenders and realtors most familiar with the city to partner nonprofit and community organizations—to provide memorable experiences at every touchpoint.

Buying Into Baltimore: Homebuying Incentive Events
We held two Buying Into Baltimore events, offering participants a chance to meet with real estate experts and community organizations, sit in on homebuying workshops, take a narrated bus tour of Baltimore neighborhoods, preview homes for sale, and become eligible for down payment and closing cost assistance toward a Baltimore City home purchase.
Six O'Clock Sessions: Monthly Education Events
We hosted monthly one-hour workshops about living, owning, and buying in Baltimore City. Topics ranged from “ways to use homebuying incentives” to “investing in energy-efficient home upgrades.”
Neighborhood Tours: Community Events
We spotlighted individual neighborhoods through “Neighborhood Pop-Ups,” realtor and donor tours, and walking homebuying events. From August of 2012 through May of 2013, our outreach included the neighborhoods of Barclay, Highlandtown, Lauraville, Remington, Mayfield, and Reservoir Hill. Our Mayfield and Reservoir Hill tours served as pilots for a new series of homebuying incentive events that are receiving city funding in FY 2014.

Highlight of Our Work

New Live Baltimore website

Which Neighborhood Am I In?

2013 brought an answer to this long-asked question with the introduction of our new mobile-friendly website. Of the many features built into the relaunched, our neighborhood-finding system is among the most “brag-worthy.” By enabling geolocation on their cellphones, site visitors are now able to pinpoint their whereabouts by community.

National Aquarium Hopkins Medicine
Baltimore City Community College Coldwell Banker
Prudential YWGC Realty World Relief
Johns Hopkins University MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
Many of Baltimore's biggest employers welcomed their new hires with our City Living Relocation Kits.

Highlight of Our Work

City Living Kit

City Living Kits

Many of Baltimore’s biggest employers welcomed their 2013 recruits and new hires with our Relocation Kits. Renamed “City Living Kits” during our brand refresh, packages distributed through the program included maps and transportation resources, events schedules for museums and attractions, menus for local restaurants, community marketing materials, contact information for city services, and more.

Highlight of Our Work

Live Balto Volunteer

Neighborhood Know-It-Alls

Who knows a neighborhood better than the people who live there? Our exceptional volunteers were already some of Baltimore’s best ambassadors.

By joining our Neighborhood Know-It-All program in 2013, community members became easy-to-contact resources, who could share their personal experiences and passion for city living with new and prospective residents.


Live Baltimore served 7,745 individuals in Fiscal Year 2013

Success That Can Be Measured

Individuals Served

Individuals served 2012
Individuals served 2013

The success of our programming is visible. Not only do we serve greater numbers of individuals and families year after year, we see our customers continue to turn to us— even after their transition to residency—as they seek to become even more knowledgeable and engaged homeowners.

A 2013 snapshot of our interactions with current and prospective residents:

  • 2,496 individuals created a new profile on our website
  • 5,037 individuals logged into an existing profile
  • 114 individuals sat down with a staff member for a one-on-one conversation
  • 1,105 individuals attended an event:
    • 230 attended a Six O’Clock Session
    • 114 attended a Neighborhood Tour
    • 88 attended Live Baltimore-sponsored Homeownership Counseling
    • 723 attended Buying Into Baltimore

Our Customers' Demographics
in FY 2013


71% of clients in 2013 were female


Racial breakdown of clients


Age breakdown of clients

Marital Status:

Age breakdown of clients


Our clients' income in 2013
City Living Fair, main hall

Where did our customers come from in FY 2013?

56% of clients from Baltimore 20% of clients from NY, NJ, MA, PA, and VA combined
  • 56% of the individuals we assisted lived in Baltimore City at the time they contacted us.
  • 24% were from other Maryland counties and DC.
  • Just over 20% were from outside the State of Maryland, including Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Buying Into Baltimore incentives helped drive over $9.3 million in total home sales, across 42 distinct Baltimore City neighborhoods.

Homebuying Incentives

Volunteers with Buying into Baltimore t-shirts

While the positive effects of our incentive events are felt long after they are held, their impacts are also immediate. In 2013, Live Baltimore helped to facilitate 62 downpayment and closing cost awards to homebuyers, for a total of $248,000 in combined assistance.

Incentive recipients:
Where did they come from?

61% of incentive recipients came from Baltimore City

Underscoring the importance of Live Baltimore’s work with apartment partners, many individuals convert from renting to owning with our assistance. The majority of our incentive recipients commit to buying in Baltimore, having already enjoyed the benefits of city residency.

Property tax revenue

$210,000 of property tax revenue was generated from June 2013 and September 2012 Buying into Baltimore incentive awardees

In the first year of ownership alone, Baltimore City properties purchased with Buying Into Baltimore Incentive awards will generate nearly $210,000 in city property tax revenues.


Investing in our city. Investing in ourselves.


FY 2013 Expenditures

2013 Expenditures

FY 2013 Funding

2013 Funding

Live Baltimore was funded through a variety of sources in 2013, including:

We rely on generous donations from individuals and corporations.
We receive grants from local and regional foundations.
We are under contract with the City of Baltimore to perform residential marking services. We are not a city department or quasi-governmental agency, but work on behalf of the city to help promote homeownership.
Marketing Partnerships
We engage in partnerships with local businesses who believe in our mission and value our connections with residents.
Earned Income
We offer merchandise for sale and charge nominal fees for our incentive-backed outreach events.


We look forward to working with you to multiply our impact in 2014.

Moving Forward

2013 was a year of investment, leaving Live Baltimore poised for even more action in 2014. Already midway through our new fiscal year, we’re building on successes summarized in the preceding pages with a series of new endeavors.

New Strategic Plan
Our board has developed and approved a new three-year plan of action, including the updated mission and vision mentioned earlier in this report. This plan includes raising our organization’s profile, partnering with the Mayor’s office on the “10,000 families” initiative, and launching fee-for-service programs to further diversify our funding. This new plan highlights key target audiences for our outreach: young families, empty nesters, recent college graduates, and immigrant and diverse populations.
New Series of Homebuying Incentive Events
Live Baltimore’s incentive award pool will double, in FY 2014, to half a million dollars of community investment. Through our successfully piloted Neighborhood Tours, Live Baltimore has received funding from Baltimore City for a new series of homebuying incentive events, resulting in 40 new incentives. City Living Starts Here will take place four times per year, supplementing Buying Into Baltimore. The new events will include walking tours of individual neighborhoods and offer homebuyers access to ten, $5,000 downpayment and closing cost awards following each tour.
New Outreach to Retain Families
Recognizing that Baltimore will not sustain its growth without the support of its existing families, Live Baltimore is embarking on a multi-faceted family-retention campaign. With a generous, initial gift from the Goldseker Foundation we’re researching families’ relocation needs, making interactive upgrades to our website focused on schools and related resources, and developing outreach efforts to promote our most family-friendly neighborhoods.
New Focus on City Employers
Individuals working in Baltimore City should be living in Baltimore City. Our commitment to this idea and to expanding the city’s Live Near Your Work program includes investment in a new staff position, Employer Outreach Manager. Filled in September of 2013, our new staffer is aggressively targeting businesses, giving on-site educational presentations, and serving as a resource to HR managers.
New Multimedia Marketing Campaign
With our new logo, tagline, and website up and running, Live Baltimore is ready to complete the relaunch of our brand. Timed to coincide with the spring homebuying season, and developed to speak directly to audiences outlined in our strategic plan, Live Baltimore will launch a new two-year multimedia marketing campaign. Look for ads featuring “fabulous residents doing fabulous things” starting in April 2014.

Live Baltimore Supporters

Thank you to our FY 2013 individual, corporate, and foundation supporters.

Individual Supporters

  • Pres Adams
  • Carolyn and Allen Baron
  • Danny Blackwell
  • John and Carolyn Boitnott
  • Catherine Brock
  • Jay Brodie
  • Anthony and Eleanor Carey
  • Karen Carrington
  • Frank Coakley
  • Dawna Cobb
  • Lillian B. Crenshaw
  • Anna Custer-Singh
  • Jeffrey Ellis
  • Ned Filipovitz
  • Donna and John Folkemer
  • Mel and Carol Freeman
  • Paul Graziano
  • Luanne Greene
  • Steve Haddad
  • Eben Hansel
  • Jerrett Hansen
  • Adrian Harpool
  • Benjamin Harrell
  • Brian and Tamra Healy
  • Ben Hyman
  • Lionel Jennings
  • Wendy Johnson
  • Venroy July
  • Laurie Latuda Kinkel
  • Brian Kraszewski
  • Jon Laria and Trudy Bartel
  • Joyce Leviton
  • Ruth M. Louie
  • Melinda Maluga
  • Jennifer Mann and Mark Tough
  • Jolie Matthews
  • Sally Michel
  • William P. Miller
  • Betsy and David Nelson
  • D.W. Wells Obrecht
  • Jeffrey and Laura Thul Penza
  • Stephen Percy and Theodore Grange
  • Louis Perkins
  • Corey Profit
  • Bill and Sharon Reuter
  • Peter Ruchkin
  • Stephen Ruckman
  • Chris Ryer
  • Jeffrey H. and Jane D. Seibert
  • Darlene and Richard Smith
  • Tisha St. Clair
  • Scott and Deanna Szeliga
  • Stacie Tobin
  • David and Jennifer Troy
  • Robert Tucker
  • Louis Vieira
  • Philip Vilardo and Lisa Wilde
  • Jenna Williams
  • Susan Williams
  • Elliot Zulver and Sally Gold

Corporate and Foundation Supporters

  • 1st Mariner Bank
  • AEGON/Transamerica Foundation
  • AJ Billig & Co., Auctioneers
  • Ballard Spahr, LLP
  • Brophy & Reilly LLC
  • Goldseker Foundation
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • T. Rowe Price Foundation
  • Venable Foundation, Inc.

Every effort was made to ensure the accuracy of this listing. If we have inadvertently omitted your name or listed it incorrectly, please accept our apologies and notify us of the error.

Your support for Live Baltimore is an investment in the health and success of Baltimore City — and us all.

Live Baltimore


Executive Director
Steven Gondol
Director of Operations
Julie French
Development Manager
Lindsey Henley
Employer Outreach Manager
Liz Koontz
Marketing Director
Annie Milli
Business Relationship Manager
Margaux Polillo
Customer Outreach & Event Coordinator
Katie Schroeder

Board of Directors

Darlene Brannigan Smith, Ph.D.
Merrick School of Business, University of Baltimore
Odette Ramos
Strategic Management Consulting, Inc.
Stacie Tobin
Venable LLP
Scott Szeliga
Cohn Reznick
Eben Hansel
Ballard Spahr, LLP
David Troy
Immediate Past President
Paul Brophy*
Brophy & Reilly, LLC
  • Pres Adams, Tower Hill Atlantic
  • Amy Bonitz, Bonitz Palmer LLC
  • Karen Carrington, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Ned Filipovitz, Transamerica
  • Adrian Harpool, Adrian Harpool Associates
  • Lance Johnson, First Mariner Bank
  • Venroy July, Hogan Lovells US LLP
  • Susan B. Katz, The Growth Coach
  • Laurie Latuda Kinkel, Goldseker Foundation
  • Kristen McGuire**, Baltimore Collegetown Network
  • Ramal Moreland, M&T Bank
  • Judy Chung O’Brien, Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance
  • Stephen L. Percy*, College of Public Affairs, University of Baltimore
  • Stephen Ruckman, Assistant Maryland Attorney General
  • Todd Skacan, T. Rowe Price
  • Travis Tazelaar, Baltimore City Mayor’s Office
  • Chris Thomaskutty, Mercy Health Services
  • Matt Van Itallie, Canterbury Road Partners
  • Jennifer Blois Vitelkites, Ernst & Young LLP

*term ended 12/31/13
**term began 1/1/14

This report was compiled by Live Baltimore and reflects Fiscal Year 2013 (July 2012–June 2013). Live Baltimore is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Maryland. A copy of our current financial statement is available upon request from our office. Financial documents and information about Live Baltimore submitted to the State of Maryland under the Maryland Charitable Solicitations Act are available from the Office of the Secretary of State for the cost of copying and postage. Copies of our federal tax returns (known as Form 990) may be found at

For more information about Live Baltimore please visit, call our office at (410) 637-3750, or email us at